Despite being universally recognized as one of the most talented wrestlers in the world for the majority of his career, it took WWE 16 years to sign former TNA Champion Samoa Joe.
Former WWE executive Bruce Prichard — who worked closely with WWE chairman Vince McMahon for two decades — explained why Vince was never interested in signing Samoa Joe until recently on the latest episode of the Something to Wrestle podcast.
“I’ll tell you why he wasn’t considered. It was because they thought he was a fat Samoan. He looked out of shape, he wasn’t the body type that Vince liked and they felt that it wouldn’t work.”
Vince McMahon has signed Samoan wrestlers with the exact same body type during Joe’s run in TNA, with the most notable one being Edward Fatu, better known to WWE fans as Umaga. When Prichard was asked why McMahon was willing to sign Umaga and not Joe, he responded by saying that the WWE chairman viewed the “Samoan Bulldozer” as “one of the family,” because he was a part of the Anoa’i wrestling dynasty, which has had ties with WWE for several decades.
Up until recently, WWE wasn’t interested in bringing in “indy darlings” like Samoa Joe. But, they changed their mind when they decided to make NXT a legitimate alternative brand. If NXT was never created, then we may have never seen Joe, along with several other non-WWE stars, be brought into the company.
Joe, who is now 37, has been a huge part of WWE’s developmental brand — NXT — for over a year now, and it’s beginning to look like he’ll finally be heading to the main roster at some point in the near future.
It’s unclear where Joe will land once he’s brought up to the main roster. There has been a rumor going around that he’s going to feud with Raw’s Braun Strowman when he comes up. Also, the dream match that everyone wants to see is Brock Lesnar vs Joe, which is something that WWE will probably do in the future. So, while we don’t know for sure, it does look like the former NXT Champion will end up wrestling on the Monday night brand.
As of this writing, Samoa Joe is scheduled to wrestle Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Toronto on November 19. If he loses the match, that could be a sign that he’ll be heading up to the main roster before the end of the year.
Joe and Nakamura’s NXT Championship match will probably be the main event of the NXT show, but it wasn’t originally scheduled to be, as Toronto native and WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus was scheduled to return and challenge Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship. But, plans were changed after Trish announced her pregnancy, and Mickie James will be taking her place at the event.
So far, there are only four announced matches for the Takeover event, which you can see below.
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe [NXT Championship]
- Asuka vs. Mickie James [NXT Women’s Championship]
- Bobby Roode vs. Tye Dillinger
- Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals
There’s a chance that Joe’s WWE main roster debut could be held off until late January, as he could end up being a surprise entrant in the 2017 Royal Rumble match.
WWE could shock everyone and have Samoa Joe regain the NXT Championship at the Toronto show, which would obviously mean that he’ll be staying down in WWE’s developmental territory for just a little bit longer. But, even if that does end up happening, we’ll probably still see him on the main roster before WrestleMania 33 next spring.
[Featured Image by WWE]